Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

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The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is one of the major flagship programmes launched in 1975 in 33 blocks by the Government of India. lt represents one of the world's largest and unique programmes for Early Childhood Development.

lt is the symbol of our country's commitment to its children and nursing mothers, as a response to the challenge of providing pre-school non-formal education on one hand and breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, morbidity, reduced learning capacity and mortality on the other. The beneficiaries of the Scheme are children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers. ICDS is the largest outreach programme operational through Anganwadi Centres (AWC) which serves as first outpost for health, nutrition and early learning services at the village level. These centres are manned by Anganwadi worker (AWW) and an Anganwadi Helper (AWH).

The objectives of the scheme are:

  • to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years;
  • to lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child;
  • to reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout;
  • to achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development; and
  • to enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education


Beneficiaries in ICDS

ICDS caters to the developmental needs of children below six years of age, pregnant women and lactating mothers. The scheme is self-selecting and universal.

Coverage and Outreach

  • After its launch in 1975 with 33 projects, ICDS has expanded in three phases increasing the number of ICDS Projects from 4608 in 2002-03 to 5829 Projects and that of Anganwadi Centres (AWC) from 5.46 1akh to 8.45 lakh by the end of 2006-07. Further, GoI in 2008-09 approved 7076 projects and 14 lakh AWC, which also includes provision of 20,000 AWCs 'On Demand'. Currently 7005 projects and 13.16 lakh AWCs are functional (June 2012)
  • Currently the Scheme reaches out to 7.86 crore children (below the age of 6 years) and 1.86 Crore pregnant and lactating mothers.

Population norms for setting up of Anganwadi centres
Population norms for setting up of AWCs and Mini-AWCs are as under:

Population norms under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme
Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) For Rural/Urban Projects Population
400-800       1 AWC
800-1600     2 AWCs
1600-2400   3 AWCs
Thereafter in multiples of 8OO     one AWC
Mini AWC 150-400       1 Mini-AWC
For Tribal/Riverine/Desert, Hilly and other difficult areas/Projects Population
300-800        1 AWC
150-300        1 Mini AWC



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  • Indian Academny of Pediatrics
  • HealthPhone
  • Vodafone India
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development
  • UNICEF India

About IAP HealthPhone

An initiative of HealthPhone™, conducted under the aegis of Indian Academy of Pediatrics, in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, UNICEF, Aamir Khan and with support from Vodafone.

The objective of this nationwide campaign against malnutrition is to address issues of status of women, the care of pregnant mothers and children under two, breastfeeding and the importance of balanced nutrition and health. The focus is on women between 13 and 35 years of age and their family members.


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